“Any person who shall attempt to teach any free person of color or slave, to spell, read or write, shall upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined in a sum of not less than two hundred fifty dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.”
This was Alabama slave code of 1833 after the slave revolt of 1831 and similar codes were throughout the nation. Slave owners wanted to keep their slaves uneducated and powerless because they understood that literacy represents power. Literacy continues to be a mechanism of social control and oppression.
At last record, Black American students have lagged far behind all groups with an average proficiency rate of 16.4% of all years accounted (1992-2015) per The Nation’s Report Card. Unsurprisingly, Black America has the lowest literacy rate of all groups in the nation. Educational equity for Black America, needs to go far beyond fiscal allocations and expenditures. It needs to include resources, teacher training and after school programs that close gaps of learning and educational experiences.
- By 2025 increase the national literacy rate of Black American students by 2%
- By 2030 increase the national literacy rate of Black American students by 5%